It takes a community to make cyberspace safer for kids
Are you ready to help create a safer internet?
Safer Internet Day, or SID, which started as a SafeBorders project in Europe in 2004, is Tuesday, Feb. 5.
The SID slogan this year is “Together for a Better Internet.” Organizers say about 140 countries including the United States are marking the day with events and celebrations.
John Pizzuro, commander of the State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, said this is a key issue for anyone who has a computer or a smart phone.
“We can’t arrest ourselves out of this problem. Our arrests have gone up 100 percent over the last three years. It’s about education, public awareness and being vigilant.”
Pizzuro pointed out children and parents must understand that many apps don’t require identity verification.
“Anyone can make a profile, and then subscribe or be part of that platform, these platforms also do not require age verification.”
He said when kids go online and start chatting with someone on a social media site, “they don’t have a verification system as far as who they are, how old they are, and it allows people a degree of anonymity and that becomes problematic and could become dangerous.”
He recommended parents use the day as an opportunity to talk to their kids about online dangers.
“And it’s not just mom and dad, it’s our teachers, it’s our coaches, it’s individuals that are in the community," he said,
“Don’t be afraid to ask them who they’re speaking to, and if they tell you it’s an individual that they really don’t know just remind them that who they think they’re talking to probably is not who they say they are.”